Digitization to improve tax collection, increase revenue: Diokno

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) employees help taxpayers at a tax filing center at the Fisher Mall in Quezon City on April 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ​​ABS-CBN News

MANILA – New Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Monday that digitalization can improve tax collection and generate more revenue.

Making tax payments user-friendly will help boost collections, Diokno told the ANC.

“We have room for better tax collection using technology. With digitization, taxes are now paid digitally rather than queuing at the BIR office, which is cumbersome and sometimes leads to corruption,” Diokno said.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will leave behind new tax reforms that could be improved in terms of implementation to meet revenue needs, he said.

Duterte’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) includes reduction of personal income tax and corporate tax while increasing duties on tobacco, petroleum and sugary products, among others , said Diokno.

Outgoing Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier presented a new fiscal consolidation plan that involves the postponement of personal income tax cuts and an expansion of tax and VAT to raise funds for debt payment.

But Diokno said other measures should be explored before considering new taxes.

“It’s not perfect but it can be improved. For me, the focus should really be on implementing the new tax system and then let’s find out if there is a need for further reform,” Diokno said.

President-elect Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr said earlier that imposing more taxes on Filipinos who are still suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic needs further study.

Diokno said the Marcos administrator also aims to reduce the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 7.6% in 2022, 6.1% in 2023, 5.1% in 2024 and 4.1% in 2025 before reaching 3% by the end of the mandate.

“I am very confident that with the new tax system due to the reforms made, we will be able to raise enough taxes to ensure that we meet our deficit target,” he added.

The Philippines should also continue with its Build, Build, Build program instead of cutting spending to boost growth as well as jobs, Diokno said.

The DOF also said earlier that any budget cuts would “stifle economic growth.”

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